Youth Unemployment

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Exploring factors hindering the implementation of youth development package in addressing youth unemployment:)


1. Introduction

1.1. Background of the study

The reason for investing in young people is clear. Today, 1.2 billion adolescents stand at the challenging crossroads between childhood and the adult world (UNICEF, 2011). Youths represent 25 per cent of the working age population and account for 47 per cent (88 million) of the world’s unemployed people. An estimated 515 million young people, nearly 45 per cent of the total, live on less than two dollars a day.

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In many post-crisis transition countries, over half of the population is younger than 25 years of age and many of them are teenagers (UNICEF, 2010). The majority of Africa’s population is also below the age of 30 years (African Youth Report, 2011).

Likewise, Ethiopia’s population is predominantly young, over 50 percent being under 18 years of age (CSA, 2007) and the youth (15-29 ages) constituting 30% of the population. However, in the past, this latter group has not received the attention it deserves and even though it has been affected by the same challenges that most youths in developing countries face, including early marriage (before the age of 18), educational disadvantage and gender discrimination, high risk of HIV/AIDS infection, domestic labour, high prevalence of female genital mutilation and sexual violence and child/human trafficking (UNICEF, 2011). The rural youth, who make up 81% of the country’s youth population are especially vulnerable, with a low level of educational attainment especially for girls (Inception Report, 2011). This suggests the need for incorporating youth issues into the national policies in order to foster youth development and participation so that the pivotal contribution of youths in combating poverty, inequality and gender discrimination is to be realized in a sustainable manner.

Considering the role of youth in the overall development of the country and recognizing their disproportionate representation in all aspects of life, the government of Ethiopia, in 2004, designed the National Youth Policy (MYSC, 2004). In order to put the policy and other youth issues into practice, the Urban and Rural Youth Development Package was also developed in 2006. The major goal of the policy and the youth package was to enable the youth to play an active role in building a democratic society and good governance as well as social and economic development.

The Urban Youth Development Package is a comprehensive development package that is designed to solve socio-economic problem of urban youth. Among other program areas youth employment and youth reproductive health including HIV/AIDS are the major ones.

Even though many countries are trying to tackle youth problems through various policies and programs, in the recent time, different researches show that the large number of youth is not absorbed by labor market and economy of the country. According to UNESCO (2004), about sixty-six million youth of the world are currently out of the work. In addition, hundreds of millions of youth throughout the world engage fewer hours, while others work more hours for small earnings and no safety. These unemployment and other problems of the youth cause serious economic and social challenges over the world.

Despite adoption of favorable youth policies and programs in Ethiopia, the study finds that policies to address the challenges facing youth have not resulted in a great deal of success. As MoFED (2012), lack of managerial manpower, poor data recording, lack of a clear demarcation of responsibilities between stakeholders and the bureaucratic administration system, lack of follow up, absence of binding agreements to enforce collaboration of other ministries, lack of awareness by the general public, limited financial and technical support, and vagueness of the youth policy, strategy and guidelines are some of challenges that affect implementation of youth-focused programs.

The need to reduce youth unemployment requires governments and development partners to design and implement comprehensive youth policies and different programs. As UNFA (2007), different governments and development partners recognized economic problems of youth and their consequences for the socio-economic development; and this consciousness has given direction to much more concerted efforts to deal with the youth development agendas in a coordinated and comprehensive manner.

In line with this thought, the World Youth Report (2005) states that: a network of major stakeholders must be established to ensure coordination of efforts across government departments and the donor community; in addition, extensive consultations with youth and their representative associations are required at all stages of the policy development and implementation. Hence, this research will uses quantitative survey design in order to explore factors hindering the implementation of youth development package in Dire Dawa.

1.2. Statement of the problem

Youths are among the most important resources countries need to have in order to bring about prosperity. Energetic, courageous and qualified youth can make changes to the socio-economic development; if they are well utilized and managed (Msigwa and Kipesha, 2013). However, unemployment among young people has becoming a major policy challenge for all nations in the world. It is not only a statistical concept, but also a multidimensional social phenomenon. It results substantial crises in psychological, social and economic perspectives, some of them are: increasing crime rates and violence, dependence on family, low self-esteem, poor social adaptation, depression and loss of confidence (Kabaklarli et al 2011). Nazir et al (2009) in the same manner showed that unemployment affects the socio-economic status of the family, leads to poor mental health, dependency and increases the magnitude of corruption, drug addiction, crimes and suicide in a society.

Government of Ethiopia have political will to initiate and pursue national youth policies, strategies, and programs. But their implementation did not bring the multifaceted change because of lack of focus by the stakeholder, especially in economic development of the youth (MOYS, 2016).

The standard definition of unemployment of ILO is based on the following three criteria that must be satisfied simultaneously; “without work”, “currently available for work” and “seeking work’’. In addition to this, under partial relaxation, the definition of unemployment includes discouraged job seekers in addition to persons satisfying the standard definition. Discouraged job seekers are those who want a job but did not take any active step to search for work because they believe that they cannot find one. Under the completely relaxed definition, unemployment includes persons without work and those who are available for work, including those who were or were not seeking work. That is, the seeking work criterion is completely relaxed and unemployment is based on the “without work” and “availability” criterion only. (Central Statistical Agency, 2005)

Ethiopia has one of the highest urban unemployment rates worldwide at 50% of the youth labor force. According to a report by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, 87% of all registered job seekers are between the ages of 15-29. Sixty eight percent (68%) of employed youth (rural and urban) are unpaid family workers. (Talent Youth Association (TaYa), 2013)

The lack of employment opportunities for Ethiopian young people is among the critical development challenges facing by the country and a key barrier to national efforts towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. (TaYa, 2013)

Thus, to accelerate the growth, security and sustainability of the Ethiopian economy development, each sector needs to be supported by young entrepreneurs and employees. Additionally, the need to create more jobs which is consistent and compatible to new graduates is very essential. Youth unemployment breeds disappointment, hopelessness, and despair. These conditions are more likely to result in youth engaging in risky and destructive behavior. The consequences of youth’s risky behavior affect their own health, their families, communities and the nation at large. In other words, they might be Unproductive, they feel a sense of hopelessness, and be at great risk for drug and alcohol addiction, delinquency and getting involved in crime. This may ultimately also lead to social unrest and civil disobedience. (TaYa, 2013)

Different researchers took government organization leaders ability and institutional capabilities as the major problem to implement youth development packages. However, these research tries to see the relationship between program factor and youth motivation for program participation. The program factors that will be investigated in this research are; program approach, program service type, program funding sources, program commitment to youth participation in structured youth development package in Ethiopia; particularly in Dire Dawa City Administration.

Lack of study in the area of youth participation is a major challenge among youth serving organization in Ethiopia. The main focus of this research however is, exploring barriers and opportunities for implementation of youth development package in Dire Dawa and youth motivation for participating in program designed to solve unemployment problem of urban youth.

The main research questions to be addressed are:

Is youth development package successful in addressing unemployment problems of youth’s in Dire Dawa?

To what extent have the key stakeholders implemented economic aspects of youth development packages to solve youth unemployment problems in the study area?

What are the barriers and opportunities for youth participation in the program designed to solve youth economic problems?

1.3. Objectives of the study

1.3.1. General objective

The main purpose of this study is to investigate the hindering factors for the implementation of youth development packages in addressing youth unemployment problems in Dire Dawa.

1.3.2. Specific objectives

To identify the challenges faced by the key stakeholders in access and utilization of the program

To examine the monitoring and evaluation procedure of youth development package in the study areas

To explore factors motivating and hindering the youth participation in the program

1.4. Significance of the study

Just like any other developing countries, Ethiopia is experiencing high unemployment rate that is threatening the pace of countries development. The unemployment rate is highest among the urban. It is upon this background that this study set out to investigate the effectiveness of youth development package towards unemployment reduction in the study area. These research will significantly important to provide insight to government organizations and development partners about practical challenges encountered in implementing economic aspects of youth development package that is designed to ensure economic empowerment of urban youths and to forward recommendation how to improve its implementation. Furthermore, this study will provide some theoretical base for other researchers who might need to conduct further studies in related areas to enhance better implementation of economic aspects of Youth Development Package.

1.5. Scope of the study

The study will be conducted mainly in Dire Dawa City Administration. The study emphasizes on factors hindering the implementation of youth development package in addressing urban unemployment. The total frame of the study is delimited to youths in kebele 02 and kebele 03 administration which is among nine urban kebele administrations of Dire Dawa.

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Youth unemployment. (2019, Dec 14). Retrieved from